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PRESS News back

The premier health and medical news on the Internet
Pre-term births are up but fewer newborns die
Last Updated: 2006-07-14 11:15:39 -0400                              By Maggie Fox

While melanoma rates overall are leveling off, the incidence of melanoma occurring on the head continues to rise, a new study from Finland shows.
The researchers report that melanoma rates rose sharply from the early 1950s through the late 1980s, after which the increase in rates of this deadly skin cancer leveled off for all sites on the body except head, in all age groups.
Dr. Timo Hakulinen of the Institute for Statistical and Epidemiological Cancer Research in Helsinki and colleagues write suggest melanoma of the head area may have a different cause from melanoma occurring at other sites.
Hakulinen and his team also found that for men, melanoma on the trunk of the body was the most common, while for women melanoma occurred most commonly on the legs and hips. These gender differences became more pronounced during the study period, which covered 1953 to 2003.
The researchers looked at changes in melanoma rates over time by analyzing data on 16,414 cases of melanoma from the Finnish Cancer Registry, which contains information on virtually the entire Finnish population, they note in the International Journal of Cancer.
In 1953, the incidence of melanoma was 1.5 per 100,000 people for men and 1.8 per 100,000 for women. By 2003, the rate had risen to 12.8 per 100,000 men and 10.4 per 100,000 women. Incidence rose about 5% annually from the beginning of the study period to the mid-1980s, and then leveled off.Melanoma of the head, with most cases affecting the ears, was the only type to show a steady increase during the course of the study, suggesting that the cause of melanoma on the head may be different from that of melanoma affecting other body areas, the researchers conclude.

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